8.78 One method of assessing the accuracy of a statistic is to compare it with an estimate of the same thing (or a closely related statistic) from another source. As discussed earlier in this chapter, other countries compile international merchandise trade statistics on a basis that is largely consistent with Australia, making it possible to compare partner countries' estimates of their transactions with Australia's estimates of its transactions with those countries.
8.79 Bilateral reconciliation studies undertaken by statistical agencies alert those agencies to possible causes of discrepancies in published statistics and may suggest data deficiencies. However, there are many reasons why merchandise trade statistics may not reconcile. In spite of this, a bilateral comparison at the broad aggregate level can provide a useful indication of the relative accuracy of the statistics. Analysis of the bilateral reconciliation studies that the ABS has participated in is included in the earlier section of this chapter (under partner country comparisons).